ABC News’ Polson Kanneth reports:
ESPN called an audible Monday night when it stripped Hank Williams, Jr. from the opening of Monday Night Football after comments the country singer made on Fox News.
Williams had compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and criticized Republican lawmakers for playing golf with the president and vice president.
Williams later apologized for offending anyone with his comments.
But today, he lashed out at ESPN, withdrawing his song, “Are You Ready for some Football,” from the cable sports network.
“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run,” the country music artist said in a statement.
ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Co., which also owns ABC.
“We have decided to part ways with Hank Williams, Jr,” ESPN said in a statement today. “We appreciate his contributions over the past years. The success of Monday Night Football has always been about the games and that will continue.”
Earlier this week ESPN said: “While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”
Williams’ song has been part of “Monday Night Football” since 1991 on both ESPN and ABC.